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The safe path isn’t always the best path (even if everyone else is on it)

By August 1, 2011Uncategorized

Here are words of wisdom for young people who want to go to college because it’s safe, and “it’s what everyone else does.” Maybe you should consider starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur. Oh, but you’re afraid of failure? Well, as the wise man says:

Failure is a part of life. Better to learn it at 18 than at 23 or older when you’ve been coddled by ivory blankets and hypnotized into thinking success was yours for the taking.


If you’re afraid to fail you’ll have a harder time learning the really important stuff. Success doesn’t teach you much. And it only makes you feel egotistically good for a short time. College doesn’t even give you a chance to find real world success. College is mostly just an expensive holding cell for people who are afraid to fail. But, since most people are afraid, colleges can charge a lot for those cells.

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  • Ray: the fact that I went to college and got a post-grad degree is not a barometer for what people today should do. The yearly cost of Loyola Law School was $17k when I went to law school. Tulane’s undergrad tuition is about $50k per year.

    Obviously, doctors and engineers need to get academic training. But college costs too much now, and it’s not really necessary. Or as James Altucher points out:

    “Whenever I suggest “don’t send your kids to college” a lot of vey smart people invariably come back with the response, “well what else should they do.” And this amazes me. I guess its really hard to figure out what people of the ages 18-23 should do during the most vibrant, healthy years of their lives when they grow from being a child to an adult.”

    Read Altucher’s post, 8 Alternatives to College:

  • Ray says:

    Odd advice from a college and law-school graduate. Without those degrees, what would you have done for a living?

    I don’t disagree with the idea that you learn more from failure than from success. And if the point is that you don’t have to go to college to succeed, I’m with you. But when you say that “college is mostly just an expensive holding cell,” you lose me.

    We can probably agree that if you go to college, consider the cost. Me, I’m a fan of small (and relatively inexpensive) liberal-arts colleges. I attended small Catholic colleges for my undergrad education, and a Catholic law school for my JD. I don’t think that anyone who went to Harvard or Yale has any edge over me in the what-you-learned department.

  • I LOVE this post. It’s true, if you’re too scared to fail then you are too scared to succeed. I embrace failure, even welcome it. I know that every time I “fail,” I learn and grow. I know what not to do again and how to improve with the next thing I take on. These are true words of wisdom.~Karen

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